Lee Zii Jia will not be part of the Road To Gold (RTG) programme following an online meeting headed by project coordinator Stuart Ramalingam on Tuesday.
“Team LZJ was represented by Zii Jia’s coaches Wong Tat Meng as well as his sister and manager Lee Zii Yii, who explained that the decision was made after careful consideration and internal consultation for which Zii Jia will not require the top-up services offered by the RTG.
"Nonetheless, Team LZJ has given its assurance that they will continue to work closely with all relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Youth & Sports, Olympic Council of Malaysia, National Sports Council and National Sports Institute in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics next year,” read a statement by the RTG secretariat.
Youth & Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh had on Oct 31 requested for Team LZJ to give their verdict on joining the RTG by Nov 14, as the shuttler remained the only athlete who had yet to sign the Letter Of Commitment.
Athletes under the RTG will receive ‘top-up’ services ranging from sports science, coaching and equipment support in addition to a monthly allowance of RM3,000.
The 25-year-old shuttler had previously received sports science support twice under the RTG programme.
The RTG was created to provide additional support services for the country’s elite athletes with the aim of propelling them to win Malaysia’s first gold medal at the Olympics.
The project will run for two cycles at the Paris Olympics next year and the following edition in Los Angeles in 2028.
Lee is currently in Japan for the Kumamoto Masters tournament where he will take on Denmark’s Anders Antonsen in the opening round of the Super 500 event.
The shuttler’s performance in the last few weeks have been encouraging after he won the Arctic Open in early October, before reaching the Denmark Open final later that month.